Here’s your Week in Tech — all the gear news you need, and none of the marketing gibberish you don’t.
It’s raining cats and dogs
French apparel company Café du Cycliste’s cats and dogs design now appears on a pair of its rain pieces. The Charlotte soft shell rain jacket and Josette short-sleeve rain jersey are the only pieces on the company’s line that have the unique design. The jacket’s waterproof breathable membrane is layered with two lightweight fabrics, resulting in a piece that Café du Cycliste says fits more like a long sleeve jersey. It also comes in a women’s cut and costs $276. The jersey, just available in men’s cut, has a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatment and a performance cut. A breathable interior membrane provides insulation from the rain but helps prevent overheating. The special dogs and cats jersey costs $204.
BreadWinner Cycles gets in the gravel game with the limited edition G-Road. The rig comes with 650b wheels and an IGLE steel fork. It was designed with off-roading in mind, with a sloping top tube and a 36mm head tube. Of course, it is disc-brake and thru-axle-equipped. As with all BreadWinner Cycles, each bike is made to order and the sizing is custom to the buyer. The bike comes stock with a SRAM Force drivetrain, but updates to Red and eTap are available for a little extra dough. The G-Road costs $6,395.
Hunt’s 3650 Carbon Wide Aero clincher wheelset takes advantage of a 36-millimeter front wheel depth, while the rear is 50mm deep. Mixed-depth wheelsets have become a trend, capitalizing on different strength and aerodynamic capabilities specific to front and rear wheels. The wheels are not disc-equipped but do come tubeless-ready. The 19-millimeter-wide rims work with a 23mm tire, but Hunt recommends a 25-millimeter tire or larger. You can preorder the wheelset now; deliveries will begin November 2. The pair weighs 1477 grams and costs $1,292.
Skratch Labs now offers an Anytime energy bar made with fruits, nuts, and quinoa. Skratch claims they have 50 percent less sugar than leading national energy bar brands. They are also non-GMO, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and kosher. Three flavors are available — chocolate chips and almonds, cherries and pistachios, and ginger and miso. A single bar is $2.65 or you can order a 12-pack for $30.
As winter approaches, the call of the trainer gets louder and louder. So Garneau and Reebok have collaborated on a shoe designed for indoor riding. The Actifly focuses on breathability because, without the breeze of the outdoors and increased humidity, sweat tends to build up. The top of the shoe mainly uses a mesh fabric to allow more air onto the foot. The mesh includes anti-bacterial and anti-odor treatments that also help with quick drying. The nylon/fiberglass outsole helps maintain power through the pedal stroke. The shoe is available in both men’s and women’s fits and is compatible with SPD cleats and most road cleats. The pair costs $110.
Silca has reintroduced its ratchet and torque kit and made it even lighter. Perhaps those small torque wrenches were just too heavy for our skinny cyclist arms. The torque beam allows you to measure 2-8Nm in three separate scales, so it is easier to find the right torque setting. The kit comes with a multitude of interchangeable hex bits (2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm), three Torx bits (T10, T20, T25) and a 2-millimeter Phillips screw bit. It also includes an extendable rachet. The kit costs $99.
Scicon has introduced a neat new feature that helps you decide how to pack your bike for your next adventure. The infographic walks you through five main components to help you decide the best way to travel with your bike: cardboard bike box, soft shell bike case, or a hard shell bike case. You’ll end up with a final result based on the level of protection, portability, packability, durability, and price.
Which bike fit is right for you? For many consumers, the quick and dirty answer is whatever fit system their local bike shop has on hand. And for the vast majority of riders, that may be just fine.
But Shimano wanted to give riders the most precise fit experience possible, so it acquired Bikefitting.com in order to combine the Dutch company’s expertise in static fitting with the Shimano Dynamics Lab’s pedaling analyzer and 3D motion capture. Those technological tools help ensure a precise fit based on a rider’s needs: speed, comfort, injury recovery, or a combination of all three.
In true Shimano fashion, there’s a ton of technology packed into a fit session. Leave the plumb bob at home; Shimano’s got real-time touch point adjustments, pedaling analysis that tells you when and where your pedal stroke is most (or least) productive, and live motion tracking that helps you visualize how your body is moving when you pedal. But it all starts with simple body limb measurements to set a baseline.
To find out what sets the Bikefitting.com process apart, VeloNews tech editor Dan Cavallari headed off to Shimano’s headquarters in Irvine, California to go through the process himself.
My fit session
The fit process starts with static measurements. With a plethora of tools at its core, the Bikefitting.com session can hone in on potential problem areas in a rider’s pedal stroke and body position with some impressive precision. Moreover, the tools — particularly the 3D analysis and heads-up visualization — help that rider see and understand what’s happening in real time. That pain in your right knee? It could be the result of your pronation or supination that you can see, right there in front of you, as you pedal away on the bike.
Even more importantly, it’s possible to change dimensions of the bike on the fly so you can feel incremental differences as you pedal. Raise or lower the saddle and handlebars; even change the length of your crank arms. The numbers will change right in front of you: the angle of your back, angle of your leg during various parts of the pedal stroke, even your foot angle and stability during the pedal stroke.
In my case, I’ve been fighting some lower back pain for the better part of a year. My hunch was that it had something to do with tightness in my hips, as well as an old injury that didn’t heal correctly. (I crashed squarely on my hip during a 2006 crit.) Like so many cyclists, all of those old injuries live in my back, hips, and legs. As a result, I’ve got some arthritis in my lower back.
Discomfort in my right ankle has also been dogging me. That often caused me to shift my foot during the pedal stroke. I find it annoying, but it hadn’t occurred to me that it might be part of the pain puzzle — or that it might be costing me a fair bit of power. All of this became clear during the fit session. The foot movement appeared to cause power loss during my pedal stroke. The pedal analysis graphics showed this in several ways, from a series of arrows showing where my force was going to a number that indicated force consistency. My pedal stroke is a dumpster fire.
By shortening my reach (handlebars closer to the saddle) and maintaining the low stack height I prefer, my shoulders relaxed and there was less discomfort in my lower back. I’ve had other fit sessions come to similar conclusions, but I saw it in real time on the screen in front of me, with data to show improvements.
That said, the overall position adjustments were fairly minor. We’re talking millimeters. Over the course of my next several rides, I’ll be paying attention to see if those millimeters add up to comfort, more power, or simply a more enjoyable riding experience. Like any fit session, the Bikefitting.com session is a living thing: After the fit, it’s important to go for a few rides, see if the new position works, consult with other professionals (Jacobson recommended I visit a podiatrist or other medical professional to address some of my ankle problems), and then revisit your fit professional to analyze what you’ve learned.
Once your fitter has found a good position for you, the data can be translated directly to your bike using a specially-designed jig that holds your bike parallel to the fit bike. The fitter then uses lasers to line up the handlebar, stem, and saddle.
A fit session remains a game of millimeters, but those tiny increments can mean the difference between a comfortable ride and an agonizing one. But as is the case with all fit systems, temper your expectations. It won’t transform you from After-Work-Allan into Peter Sagan. Sometimes, you’re simply limited by what your body can and cannot do. Will I win more Strava KOMs as a result of this fit? Probably not. But I hope I’ll be a bit more comfortable as I try.
Pricing on the session varies from $250 to $500, depending on which services a customer chooses. For more information on the different types of fit sessions, visit Bikefitting.com.
I write because, at 53 years of age, I am becoming more of a serious cyclist than I’ve ever been. I know about your experience with arrhythmia, and it occurred to me that perhaps I should do what I can to avoid a similar (or worse) fate.
Therefore, I’ve decided to seek some medical advice/testing to see if I am healthy enough to continue riding hard. I currently have no arrhythmia and there is no history of cardiac issues in my family. However, I’d love to continue cycling and challenging myself on the bike for many more years, and this would seem a prudent step.
My question to you: can you recommend specific tests beyond a basic cardiac stress test?
In addition to getting a cardiac stress test (performed on a treadmill or ergometer while hooked up to an EKG machine), I recommend getting an echocardiogram done. This test can tell you the size and shape of the heart and its internal chamber sizes, its pumping capacity, and the location and extent of any tissue damage. An echocardiogram can also calculate the volume of blood each of your ventricles pumps per unit time, how much of the blood inside each ventricle gets pushed out with each contraction (ejection fraction), and how well the heart relaxes between contractions. — Lennard
Manufacturer warning label regarding tires
While installing new Maxxis Padrone tires onto my 2008 Fulcrum 2-way Racing 1s last week, I noticed a warning label inside the rim that stated to use only Hutchinson tubeless tires. My first two sets of tires were Hutchinsons, but then I switched to Schwalbes and ran those for a few years without incident. I contacted the folks at Fulcrum and inquired about the warning, and they reiterated that I should only use Hutchinson tires on these wheels. My hunch is that the Hutchinsons were really the only tires on the market back when these wheels were designed and tested and that they haven’t gone back and re-tested any of the new tires on the market. Thoughts?
Interestingly, I think I ran into the same situation with the Maxxis tires: the sidewall states that minimum pressure is 105psi. That seemed a bit high for a tubeless tire (and kind of defeats the purpose), so I emailed them and their response was that minimum is indeed 105, but they’ve heard of riders running them in the mid-80s without incident, but that they, of course, can’t recommend that. Seems to me that these companies have some pretty good lawyers on staff these days. — Tom
Joshua Riddle, press manager for Fulcrum and Campagnolo, says, “Tom is right regarding the tire situation in 2008. There really wasn’t much else available, and we developed and tested with Hutchinson. Not knowing at the time how other tires that were to come to market after the launch would perform, we could only vouch for Hutchinson, as we had experience only with their tires. In 2009, we had tested plenty of other tires and the same in 2010, so the literature, warning labels, and recommendations were all amended to reflect a wider array of tubeless tires for use with Campagnolo and Fulcrum 2 way fit wheels. At the moment, you can use the tires you prefer for both Campagnolo and Fulcrum 2 Way Fit wheels.” ― Lennard
Bottom bracket knocking
I ride a 2013 carbon Masi Evoluzione with Campy Chorus 11. For a few seasons now, the bottom bracket area has developed a knocking sound that further Internet research has helped me diagnose as a discrepancy between the bike’s bottom bracket shell’s width and the tight tolerance of the UT bottom bracket’s Hirth joint. The “Rogue Mechanic” (see below) seems to have found a cure for BBs with threaded cups (adding spacers of various width to the NDS cup until the noise disappears), but in my case, I have press-fit cups. I’ve already changed bottom brackets twice (I’m on a Praxis now) and the knocking is getting worse.
It is the Praxis “threaded press-fit” model, where one cup with the internal sleeve is press-fit into the BB shell and the other cup is threaded into the sleeve (requires two bottom bracket tools). They provide a “wavy washer” like Campy as well as a non-drive side cup, sort of a soft o-ring that’s supposed to allow for bb width discrepancies, but on the road pedaling, it’s like nothing’s changed. There’s a guy out there, “Rogue Mechanic,” who’s done some research and came up with spacers to place between the non-drive side threaded cup and the bottom bracket shell, but that requires removing the whole bottom bracket assembly a good number of times before finding the right amount of spacers and, again, I’m not on a threaded system, but on a press-fit one, so I’m not sure if removing and replacing the press-fit cup several times makes sense.
I’m so sick of this noise I don’t even want to ride. What would you suggest, short of chucking all my Campy stuff (I’ve been a loyal customer for 25 years) and moving to SRAM? — Franck
The “Rogue Mechanic” tip is not a good option, in my opinion. I also think it has nothing to do with your creak or knock, which I believe is entirely caused by your bearings moving around within your unthreaded carbon bottom bracket shell. In fact, I don’t think that there is any need for performing the “Rogue Mechanic” tip, and you could instead damage your nice ceramic bearings by side-loading them if you do what he suggests. I also don’t think that movement in your Hirth joint where the two bottom bracket stubs meet in the center is likely to occur, as long as you have the bolt tight. That joint is very well-engineered so that the tapered teeth just keep tightening up against each other. In fact, Hirth joints have been used in automotive and aircraft crankshafts for a long time, as they can transfer high torques very well.
Yes, if you push laterally on the face of a Campy Ultra Torque crank, you can compress the wave washer and get it to move laterally. However, when actually pedaling, you will not be applying that kind of side load. I think that if you were to interview thousands of Campy UT riders, you would not find them complaining about the chainring moving back and forth and rubbing the chain from side to side on the front derailleur cage plates — at least not any more than riders on other major crank brands do (everyone gets a little side-to-side chainring movement, and that is generally due to frame flex, crank flex, spider flex, and chainring flex, not to lateral movement of the bottom bracket spindle).
I am surprised that the Praxis thread-together bottom bracket did not at least improve it somewhat. I suspect it is somehow still not tightened up against the faces of the bottom bracket shell. Perhaps those bottom bracket faces are not parallel; “facing” them might improve things.
To fix your creak, according to Campagnolo North America technical service manager Dan Large, “the only options are to Loctite or epoxy the cups into the frame. Ensure that the rider has the bearings serviced regularly and change the grease in the cups. Alternatively, the grease can be substituted with a light coat of anti-seize on the outer surface of the bearing.” ― Lennard
￼Inside a nondescript warehouse perched on a hill outside Koblenz, Germany, an alarm beeps and green lights flash every few minutes. A line of bicycle frames hanging from a conveyor belt jolts forward with each buzz. Frames move down the assembly line, stopping at workstations along the way, where workers install cranks, shifters, cables, and other components. Each time the green lights flick on the conveyor sends the frames ahead. Station by station, frames are transformed into bikes, and then packed into boxes, loaded onto trucks, and sent out across Europe.
This warehouse is the home of Canyon Bicycles, one of Europe’s fastest growing bike companies. The brand has become synonymous with its innovative consumer-direct sales model, in which bikes are purchased online and shipped directly to customers. The model has proven to be successful across the globe, in part because retail prices are sometimes 25-30 percent less than those of equivalent bikes sold in retail shops.
After several years of false starts, Canyon finally crossed the Atlantic and began delivering bikes in the U.S. in August, with big plans to take a bite out of the $6 billion U.S. bike market.
It also arrived with plenty of controversy. Canyon’s business model cuts independent bike shops out of the bike buying process and, as such, will take dollars out of the pockets of U.S. shops.
It’s a controversy that extends beyond the bike industry — support local businesses or pay less online — reflecting an evolving economy, industry, and mode of commerce generally. Canyon’s executives believe it is an inevitable seismic shift for the industry.
“This is what has to come. If Canyon does not do it, it will be someone else,” Canyon owner and CEO Roman Arnold says. “It is just the right time and it is what the customer is asking for. The whole industry is changing. We are not the enemy of the industry.”
Canyon says its sales model is better for the consumer in the long run. The price tag is smaller, and the bike buying process is streamlined, the company’s executives say. Why fight the future?
Bike shop owners are not so sure.
“Canyon coming to the U.S. put a bit of fear in dealers’ minds and in the brands’ minds,” says Nelson Gutierrez, owner of Strictly Bicycles in Fort Lee, New Jersey. “Shops are thinking about what they’d have to do to combat or confront the consumer to create a better experience so they don’t buy online.”
Of course, Canyon has already driven change through the bike industry. It’s success overseas convinced some U.S. manufacturers, including Trek and Giant, to launch modified consumer-direct models in recent years. Now, the brand’s aggressive U.S. plans could create tensions between other brands, bike shops, and customers.
So, how will the bike industry work itself out? And who will be the winners and losers?
ROMAN ARNOLD LACKS THE power suit and haughty corporate speak that one might expect from the chief executive of a global cycling brand. Sitting in Canyon headquarters, the German wears a plain long-sleeve shirt with athletic pants and sneakers. He sits low in his office chair and sips a cup of tea.
“We really like cycling and we want people to have fun on the bike,” he says. “But we also want to bring new people into the sport and say, ‘Have a look, this is a cool thing you have to do.’ We want to give the rider the tools to do what he wants to do. It doesn’t matter what rider it is. We want to deliver the right bike and the right experience.”
Arnold recounts memories of racing as a teenager and young adult and how that led to a family bike business. Arnold and his father traveled to races across Europe, hauling a large metal trailer behind them. As the young Arnold raced, his father sold bike parts out of the trailer.
After retiring from racing, Arnold and his brother Franc transformed this mobile bike part business into a bike shop that quickly grew into one of the biggest Trek and Specialized dealers in Germany. The company later shifted from supplier to manufacturer of bicycle frames in the mid-1990s, laying the groundwork for the Canyon Bicycles of today.
From the start, Arnold embraced the consumer-direct model via the Internet. As Canyon grew with the online sales platform, so too did the resistance against Canyon from bike shops and dealers across Europe.
Arnold recalls one particularly frustrating struggle with Canyon’s initial expansion into France.
“There was a decree from the president [of France] that said if you want to sell a bike in France, it has to have pedals attached,” he says. The new rule blocked the sales of Canyon bikes in France since their bikes could not be packed with the pedals attached when shipped directly to consumers. It was a devastating blow to the growing company.
Canyon fought back, spending over €100,000 to reverse the order. Arnold says he later found out that the French bike dealer’s organization was behind the issue, and was trying to insulate itself from this new threat against bike shop sales.
“We had a lot of pushback in the beginning,” Arnold says. “We had to believe that what we were doing was right.”
CONSUMER-DIRECT SALES ARE nothing new to the U.S. bicycle market. Large online retailers such as Competitive Cyclist and Backcountry.com offer a huge assortment of bike components, equipment, clothing, and nutrition at low prices, a function of each company’s bulk purchasing powers. Smaller regional brands such as Franco Bicycles, Fezzari Bikes, and VeloVie also sell imported Asian frames to U.S. consumers over the web.
“The consumer-direct market has been a thorn in the brick-and-mortar retailer’s side for a long time,” Gutierrez says. Losing customers to online sales has been a factor in the steady decline in the number of independent bike shops in the U.S. According to the National Bicycle Dealer’s Association, the number has dropped over 13 percent since 2010, with an estimated 3,700 shops still operational.
There are other factors at play in this drop, of course, from the sale of bikes in big box stores to the growth of the second-hand market. Canyon executives say the statistics prove that consumers crave the service that they provide.“The industry has to leave their comfort zone,” Canyon global communication manager Thorsten Lewandowski says. “We are taking a look at what the customer really needs and not what the industry needs.”
“The industry has to leave their comfort zone,” Canyon global communication manager Thorsten Lewandowski says. “We are taking a look at what the customer really needs and not what the industry needs.”
The debate over what’s best for the consumer is intense, complex, and has compelling arguments from both sides. There are three major factors at play within the discussion: price, purchasing process, and the sustainability of the bike shop model.
Canyon’s sales model does lower prices by cutting bike shops out of the buying process. Retailers often sell an item at a 60-100 percent markup from the price they paid a manufacturer. For example, Canyon’s Aeroad CF SLX Disc 9.0 LTD bike with SRAM eTap retails at $7,500, while a comparable aero bike and build by a competitor retails at $11,500.
Of course, price isn’t the only factor in a bike purchase. Retailers argue that a shop’s follow-up service can tip the scales in their favor. Jason Fenton, owner of Halter’s Cycles in Skillman, New Jersey, says his store takes customers through a thorough bike-buying process that includes correct sizing, a bike fit, and follow-up service after the purchase.
“I think that buying a bicycle is a highly personal experience,” Fenton says. “From front to end, we find that our prices are competitive, if not better, and we give a hands-on experience that they can’t get online.”
Canyon believes it offers a better purchasing process. The age-old reputation of the grumpy bike shop employee has made its way into the mainstream, driving customers online, Canyon representatives say. Of course, that’s not the only reason why customers flock online. All industries have seen the shift. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, e-commerce sales account for approximately nine percent of all retail sales in the U.S., amounting to over $400 billion in the last year.
It’s hard to argue with the ease of clicking a button from the comfort of your home, especially when you know exactly what product you want.
Lewandowski also argues that shops can complicate this process. “Bike shops can influence the customer’s decision based on what they have available or what they may need to still sell that season,” he says. “Even if the customer knows the exact bike they want, a bike shop could try and change their mind.”
Fenton, on the other hand, believes bike shops can offer a better purchasing experience, especially for novice customers. “Lots of people buy mountain bikes online that aren’t applicable to the area that they ride,” he says. Shops provide local advice on the trails, the roads, and the terrain nearby, and what bikes or products are best suited for the area.
“People are like, ‘Great, I got a good deal and saved a couple hundred bucks or a thousand maybe,’ but their only point of contact is someone who is on the phone or on the Internet,” Fenton says.
Whether or not the traditional bike shop model is sustainable in the long run is open to debate. Canyon employees believe their model actually helps bike shops. The traditional business model between manufacturers and bike shops has created endless headaches, they say.
Inventory requirements put a strain on small businesses. A slow season or an inaccurate estimate of the number of bikes to have in stock can lead to financial anxiety, leading to the sale of last season’s bikes at a discount at little to no profit (or sometimes at a loss). When the new season’s line of bikes rolls in, the cycle continues.
Arnold says that Canyon removes all of these tensions by letting bike shops do what they do best: service.
“This will be a great chance for the bike dealer, by providing service,” he says. “He is so close to you. It’s a big chance for the dealer to service these bikes that are bought online. Canyon will bring new customers to the dealers.”
VeloNews spoke with multiple independent bicycle dealers, and the majority agreed that service holds the key to the survival of shops, with or without Canyon.
“We view it as an opportunity to essentially try to win that person back over as a customer, and hopefully get sales from them in the future,” says Brian Zeck, of River City Bicycles in Portland, Oregon.
How many shops will remain open based on service profits alone remains to be seen. The sale of bicycles still accounts for a sizable percentage of revenue. The industry has already begun to see a shift toward a service focus, with the rise of mobile bike shops such as VeloFix, Beeline Bikes, and others.
“The bike shop has so much value in terms of service,” says Matt Heitmann, Canyon’s chief marketing officer. “This is what they will always do better than we can do as a website.”
A LARGE WORKSHOP BUILT into Canyon’s consumer-facing headquarters in downtown Koblenz is lined with bikes, mostly Canyons, waiting to be serviced. The bikes have come from Germany, the U.K., and across Europe. They’ll soon come from the U.S. as well. They are bikes that shops have refused to work on because they were purchased online. It’s one of Canyon’s biggest growing pains, and the company is uneasily waiting to see if it’ll happen in the new U.S. market as well.
“Everywhere you go, you wear this scarlet letter,” Fenton says about bike customers who go the consumer-direct route. “You’ll be shunned by bike shops… We’ve seen it in the past.”
While Fenton says his shop will work on any bike that comes through the door, the service might differ between types of customers. He says his shop would not give lesser service, but it’s possible that customers who buy bikes through his shop would get preferential treatment, faster service, or more inclusive service.
Most of the shops we spoke with agreed that a flat-out refusal to service Canyon bikes is counterproductive, a missed opportunity.
“It’s very short-sighted,” Gutierrez says. “Shops should service anybody’s bike. You should never say no. You could win that customer over, and maybe their second bike purchase isn’t going to be a Canyon, it’s going to be a bike that you stock.”
Other shop owners wholeheartedly agreed that the U.S. market would likely be more open to servicing Canyon bikes. “I don’t see that flying in the U.S.,” says Jason Woznick of Fairwheel Cycles in Tucson, Arizona. “It’s just not the way things are done here. I know there are a few shops that refuse to work on department store bikes, but I think there are enough shops, it’s competitive enough, and shops are struggling enough that they’ll work on almost anything.”
Shops are rethinking how to connect with customers and how to put themselves back on the map in this new type of bike economy. Gutierrez believes shops should focus on creating a community, rather than relying on the old way of selling.
“Retailers shouldn’t be scared,” Gutierrez says. “Make it more of a communal experience and they’ll see a return on investment.”
For some shops, highlighting its services is nothing new; Canyon’s entry into the U.S. simply reiterates the importance of this component of the retail experience. Zeck, for one, encourages his staff to focus on the basics of customer service. By doing that, he’s seen success in competing with online retailers that have been in the U.S. market for years.
Canyon’s arrival in the U.S. is driving change in the industry — with a sales model that isn’t entirely new. Consumer-direct sales likely will not kill the independent bike dealer, so long as shop owners are willing to adapt.
“It’s a normal evolution,” Arnold says. “Industries develop. There will be room for everyone if we all work hard and try to adapt to the customers’ needs.”
Here’s your Week in Tech — All the gear news you need with none of the marketing jargon you don’t want.
Pivot reaches Mach 6
Pivot’s revamped Mach 6 Carbon is longer and lower, clearly aimed at appeasing the enduro crowd. The 65.75-degree head tube angle and 155 millimeters of travel certainly encourage straight-lining the chunder. Yet the 74-degree seat angle means Pivot hasn’t forgotten you have to earn your way to the top too. The Mach 6 is both 1x and 2x compatible and is also available in an aluminum version.
In May, Zipp unveiled the 454 NSW wheelset (affectionately dubbed “whale wheels” here in the office). Now, Zipp has gone mega-whale. The massive 858 NSWs are 24 millimeters deeper than the 454s, which already measure 53 to 58 millimeters deep (depending on where you measure). The wheels come in both rim brake and disc brake clincher versions. The 858 will be available in November and will cost $4,400 for the pair.
Some of the names sound the same, but everything from wheels to helmets gets an update. The enduro-inspired Deemax Pro wheelset features a slim internal hub width out back (25 millimeters) to save weight, while the front maintains a wider 28-millimeter stance. The set will cost $1,099, On the soft goods side, the XA Pro helmet comes with expanded lower rear coverage that should protect against impacts at the back of the head. And the Crossmax SL Pro with MIPS is Mavic’s lightweight XC offering. The XA Pro retails for $150, while the new cross-country helmet is $170.
Sock Guy wants to scare your socks off with its Halloween collection. The holiday-themed socks retail for $12 and come with six-inch cuffs.
Lezyne’s classic bells sure do look cool, and they both have a crystal-clear tone. Better yet, they’re easy to swap between bikes because they install in seconds with a couple of O-rings. The Classic (pictured) and the Shallow Classic (which looks like a drummer’s cymbal) both retail for $14.
File this one under cryptic emails: Rapha tells us customisable apparel is on the way in spring 2018 … But that’s all the details we got. We’re hoping you’ll be able to customize Rapha’s hallmark sleeve stripe with flames or Hawaiian shirt prints in the near future.
Building a legacy with the Chad Young Foundation
Chad Young, 21, raced for the Axeon Hagens Berman squad when he crashed catastrophically during the 2017 Tour of Gila. He died days later from his injuries. His family has created the Chad William Young Foundation to help fund research to prevent traumatic brain injuries. The foundation has partnered with Cuore of Switzerland to offer jerseys, base layers, bibs, and more to support the cause.